GANDER, NL – The Gander Women’s Institute made a significant announcement about their organization on Feb. 12.
A proclamation declaring “February is Women’s Institute Month” took place at Gander Town Hall with Mayor Percy Farwell, some Women’s Institute members and Gander councillors.
According to Mabel Miller, public relations officer for the Gander Women’s Institute branch, signing the proclamation will “bring together the membership and the community to say that we are the Women’s Institute and we have a presence here in Gander.”
President Wilma Pond said February is recognized as Women’s Institute month all over the world.
The local club is struggling to recruit new members, according to Miller. The club has between 40 and 45 members and their average age is in the 60s.
A couple of events like the “Spooktacular” held last year and a fashion show spurred some interest in the group and resulted in a modest increase in membership.
Miller hopes signing this proclamation will generate more interest in the group and attract new members.
“There is a lack of awareness of the Women’s Institute and this (proclamation signing) is a great benefit to us,” said Miller. “It brings members together more and makes them feel proud of the organization.”
Women’s Institute activities are geared toward making a social impact. Members are deeply connected to dialysis, cancer and dementia patients at the James Paton Memorial Hospital.
“We put together some afghans and give them to the people who have (cancer) treatments,” said Miller. “And we give them comfort hats, especially for females, who have lost their hair.”
The Women’s Institute also reaches out to dementia patients by creating fidget quilts to ease their anxiety.
The group meets once a month. Mondays are designated workdays where workshops are held to focus on community-based projects.
Many organizations such as the Cara Transition House, Choices for Youth, Girl Guides and Ronald McDonald House have benefited from donations from the Women’s Institute.
An exhibition of the work of the Women’s Institute is currently on display at the J.R. Smallwood Arts and Culture Centre for the rest of February.